Animal years, according to the ancient lunar Chinese calendar, are grouped, not into decades as in the Western world, but into cycles of 12, beginning with the Year of the Rat and ending with the Year of the Pig. Each year is governed by one of the twelve Animals and each has its own particular character. The sign of the Rat, being the first sign in the cycle, imbues Rat people with leadership qualities.
How did the Rat become first in the cycle? The most widespread Chinese zodiac legend tells of a great race. The Jade Emperor (The Emperor in Heaven in Chinese folklore) ordered that animals would be designated as calendar signs and the twelve that arrived first would be selected. On that day, the rat got up very early and rushed to the gathering site. The steadfast Ox led the way, happily thinking he would be the first sign of the years, but at the last minute, the opportunistic Rat scampered over the Ox’s back to arrive first, becoming the first animal of the Chinese zodiac. The Ox came second, followed by the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
In Chinese culture, the Rat is seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Clever and quick thinkers, Rats are successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life.The Rat is the Chinese zodiac sign known for being inquisitive, shrewd, and resourceful. Because the Rat is the first in the rotation of the 12 zodiac signs, meaning that a Rat year is a year of renewal. So when a Rat year comes, it generally delivers new experiences with favorable outcomes for all of the signs.
In addition to the 12-year rotation of the Animals, the classical Chinese Five Element Theory also
plays a part in the energy of the year. This theory holds that the Elements Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal, significantly modify the quality or nature of whomever or whatever they represent. The Element Water encourages qualities of sensitivity and persuasiveness, Wood enhances creativity and imagination, Fire produces dynamism and passion, Earth instills stability and practicality and Metal adds strength of will. The Metal influence of 2020, suggests a strong and purposeful year.
Ancient Chinese philosophers and scientists understood that the world is in a constant state of change, yet moves through a distinct framework of cycles, each having an opposite and equal value, such as night and day, cold and hot and birth and death. This concept of duality forming a
whole is referred to as Yin and Yang; it explains how seemingly opposite, or contrary, forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world. Yin contains the seed of Yang and vise versa and they constantly transform into each other. Just as a state of total Yin is reached, Yang begins to grow. Depicted by the Yin/Yang symbol, Yin is considered more passive while Yang is considered more active. Yang is the energetic influence in 2020.
This Yang Metal Rat bodes a strong, prosperous, and lucky year. Rat years are the perfect time to save, but not a time to go without. The Metal Element supports all the signs in demonstrating determination and persistence regarding goals and aspirations. And while it is always important to strive for a balance of Yin and Yang, it is especially important this year as we enter a new 12-year cycle.
May this New Year bring balance in your life, strength that never weakens,
joys that never fade, and hopes that never diminish.
Wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year and an auspicious 2020.